Recent games

This page has notes on games played recently at the club. Please add a few comments or a short session report on anything you found interesting. If you have not visited us before,  this page will give you an idea of the type of games we play.

October 14th.  Quiet night this week with only 3 tables.

We had Fire and Axe: a Viking Saga, Cosmogenesis followed by Tiny Towns and finally Black Orchestra.

Well, we would have had Black Orchestra but the owner, whose name shall not be mentioned *cough*, for got he sold the game a while ago. Instead, we played Maracaibo.

I really like Maracaibo and it has been sometime since I played. The main board is set in the Caribbean where out ships sail to either cities to do a big action and drop of goods or a village to do 1, 2 or 3 actions depending on how far you travelled.

You have a hand of cards (start with 4) which you use either as goods and just discard them at a city or you set them out as a project to later buy them as permanent bonus cards in games. These may increase your income, give you extra actions or enhance current actions.

Whoever gets to then end of the circuit (think great wester trail) triggers then end of round and some end of round scoring. Do this 4 times to trigger game end.

The other part of the game (and the big points scoring) is the battles. This is just an action, and you turn over a tile which shows the 3 factions of England, Spain and France. Each have a combat value and using your own combat value you spend that many combat points to gain influence with a single faction and/or lay out cubes on the board. Your big bonus comes from the amount of influence you have with a faction x the number of points revealed by putting their cubes out.

I have not played for sometime so rules took a while however I miss playing this and will definitely bring it to the club more often.

September 23rd The 1829+ games are an epic series, but unfortunately each one takes at least a whole day to play. A group of five of us played Dual Gauge  this week which is a completely stripped-down take on the 18xx game system with some elements of Steam thrown in. Astonishingly, we had all finished by 9:15, with time left for Azul and Blokus.  And that included 30minutes to go through the rules. Dual Gauge, played on the Portugal board, consists of alternate share-buying and operating rounds. Critically, you can only buy 1-share per turn and (usually) can only operate 1-route, which underlies the rapid play. At the end of our game (due in this case to trains running out), I was ready for a couple more turns.  There are some elements missing, such as share-selling by players, survey parties and progressive development of multiple increasingly complex routes, but it also avoids the maths that is needed each round in 18xx games for distributing share income. Also the simplification, gives the huge advantage of being easily able to complete a game of Dual Gauge in an evening at the club. The components are basic, but this share/rail game really worked for me. (D)

September 2nd – Dan, Dave and I played Uwe Rosenburg’s Hallertau this week. The key mechanics listed on the back of the box were enjoyable! Sheep with expiration dates – or just slaughter them for meat! Field yield rotation system and for my game the most important mechanic – Card Combos!

After a first round where I was a bit lost in what I was doing, in round two I decided to go heavy on concentrating on card combos which turned out to be the winning strategy in this case. In particular being able to play the combo cards at any time meant you could fulfill card requirements right before you needed to spend the resources.

Plenty of replay-ability for the future with different decks of cards to choose from.

Unfortunately for Dave and Dan my streak continued with a very close win of 6 nimmit and then an Ace at Perudo – no dice lost myself!

Ed

Aug 22nd – Write up from Robin

Michel brought in Tammany Hall, which I had never heard of – and apparently no-one else had either – which turned out to be a really nice area-control game.

The setting is Lower Manhattan in the 19th century, in the districts inhabited by European immigrants. Community organisations vie with one another to build influence among the immigrant groups, to control the outcome of local elections and get their boss elected mayor. Players each take the role of one of these political bosses.

The game has 16 turns, with an election every 4th turn, which produces a nice dynamic of cagey, careful build-ups, followed by a chaotic climax at the elections, where the balance of power shifts dramatically. With the opportunity to strike deals with other bosses, it’s a very entertaining game with lots of interaction. I thought it was great fun.

I ended the evening none the wiser regarding strategy. Whoever wins an election gets a lot of VPs up front, and then gets completely crushed at the next election. And the rule that “in case of a tie, no-one wins” caused various amusing mishaps. I managed to be involved in at least 3 ties for areas, mostly against Steve; so perhaps no surprise we ended up in the last two places…

The other tables in our room were both playing Merv, and then some Perudo – including the unusual final play of falling onto the piano and breaking some wine glasses. This move is very similar to normal Perudo in terms of decibels generated, so I assume it was part of the game??

Aug 5th - Another very busy week with some new guests a total of 5 tables this time.

So first up we had Praga on one table and Endeavor: Age of Sail, Imperium, Architects of the West Kingdom and Raiders of the North Sea.

Architects and Raiders are part of a triology of games by Garphill Game that all work in different ways but at the same time are very familiar with each other once you played one.  My favorite of the three is Architects.

Endeavor is a returning classic to the club where you are all battling for control over various area to score points.

Praga gets its first visit to the club.

On my table we had Imperium which is a card based game in which you are playing your cards to try and build up from Barbarian status, to Empire and then finally to completely your Empire.  I really like this as each “faction” has its own play style and some are very different and go against the basic game rules.  Finish the game to early and you may not win as its all about the points on the cards at the end.  Leave it too late though and some factions really rack up the points late game.

It is not to everyone’s taste as it is a pure card game and the rules are a little awkward due to Osprey renaming most popular gaming mechanics to something else.

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July 22nd – Another good night for the club with some new members joining us for the first time.

Dan M, David K, Jess and David A were on one table with an evening on light games planned.  Ed, Dave H, Paul T managed to get Carverna with Forgotton Folk exp wrapped up pretty quickly so followed that up with Ganymead.

David M and Steve welcomed our new guests Pedro and Elso with a game of Puerto Rico followed up with Evolution: Climate

John, Graham, Keith, Andrew H were on the table near us playing Lost Ruins of Arnak and finally on my table we had a prototype game from Dan B, Terraforming Yards aka The Florist with Dan B, Paul, Ian, Anthony, Robin.

Our game was a lot of fun and whilst we did not get time to finish it we were close.  The game is about producing flowers and plants for a village fete where we all share access to 4 specialists.  Each time they are used they become more expensive until you rest them.

Having played 2 prototype games in a row from our buddying designers I can safely say we have some great talent in the group and I hope both Robin and Dan decide to take this further and look to publish both games.

Write up from Robin >

Yes Terraforming Yards was great fun – I would definitely recommend it. Florist was the working title though it seems to have been quickly supplanted.

The mechanics worked very well: a good mix of ways to amass victory points – some slow and steady (contracts), some a long-term investment (decorations), some a gamble (judges). We couldn’t really tell how well-balanced these different options were, since we didn’t finish; but there was no clear best strategy, which is always a good sign.

As for the playing time, I think we were actually playing for just over 3 hours. Some of the turns took a lot of thinking time, though for me at least this was more about reminding myself of the rules – so hopefully the addition of a player aid / cheat sheet would trim a lot off that. Hopefully it would go a lot quicker if we were all familiar with the rules to begin with – I’d certainly be interested to try it again.

And what did we learn? It turns out that a garden full of flowers is the way to go. Anthony definitely had the most profitable garden, and Ian’s alternative approach (filling the garden with topiary) almost hoodwinked the judges, but they saw through his privet hedges in the end…

July 15th - Played this week: SpaceCorp Ventures, Tinners Trail, Oceans, Dead Man Blues and The Lost Ruins of Arnak. More detail to come soon.

June 24th 2021 – Well first of all sorry I did not do a write up for last week.  This week we had 5 tables in play which worked very well.

Myself, Anthony, Paul and Michael played Venice.  Designed by Andrei Novac and Dávid Turczi.  Was a great Euro pick up an deliver game with a twist.  You have to keep swapping between your boats or pay to stay in your same boat when money is tight in this game.  One I would definitely play again.

David K continued a theme of his games and this week played Tzolk’in with Andrew H and Bill.  I have played this before and its a great Euro with a lot of moving parts – literally there are Giant cogs that you turn.  Little bit of a brain melter trying to work out when to take your worked off.

Ed, Dave and Dan M played GMT games SpaceCorp.

Graham, John and Dan played the classic Great Western Trail.

Finally we had Robin with his game in development called Dead Man Blues.  Some great feedback from Steve, Paul T and Dan B.  Robin will be bringing this again to try and get some feedback on how it plays with different play styles.

Jun 10th 2021 – 4 Tables this week.  Not even the great weather could keep our gamers away.

On my table we played Rococo Deluxe Edition with Anthony and Dan.  Game is based in France around the time Louis XV reigned.  We are all fashion designers displaying our garments in Grand Balls.  Think Great British Sewing Bee but in ye olde times.  Dan won but was his game so we think he cheated :)

Also played, Orleans, played by Dan B, John, Kieth and Grahame, Tekhenu, with David K, Stuart, Andy and Andrew.

Final table I did not not the game but we had Brian, Adel, Steve and Robin.

Ian

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June 3rd 2021 - Another great week with several tables booked and all with good numbers on each table.  I played a game of Smartphone Inc with Paul, Robin and Dave.  Its a great little game that actually plays a lot quicker than you think.  Each player is a smartphone manufacturer who needs to balance the production with logistics, research and expansion.

On other tables we had Eclipse (which was done in the night!), War of the Whispers (played twice) and Hansa Teutonica.

Ian

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May 20th 2021 – A great reopening of the club this week! We had two tables of four and three tables of three. Originally it had been planned for four tables of four but with one extra person without a game we happily re-shuffled to get everyone playing. I played Pan Am with Ian and James. This by all accounts should be quite a quick game but the three of us are far to ruthless to allow anyone to get easy points! We ended on a really close finish James on 18, myself and Ian on 19 with Ian taking the win on the tie break of most money. He had one left and I had none!

On the other tables we had Belfort, Barrage, Brass and finally Viscounts of the West Kingdom.

I hear that Dan M played an interesting game of Barrage, only really producing power in the last round and still clinching the victory!

Meanwhile the table playing Viscounts had such fun playing it badly they are going to do a repeat play the following week to try and improve their scores!

Our first night of taking contactless payments was a great success, although the thick walls of the building meant lots of loitering near the windows to get signal!

Ed

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October 22nd We had another go at Merchants & Marauders this week, and again did not quite manage to finish in the time available. For some games the lack of an extra 30 minutes and the absolute requirement to leave at 10PM is limiting. I think Eclipse probably also falls into this category. If there is enough spare space, it might be better to limit these games to 3-players while current time constraints prevail – then I think there would be a good chance to complete the game. That said, the game we played was very combative with lots of narrow escapes and ship-to-ship engagements, including a successful boarding. My capn’s log tells me that Tzolk’inBonfire and Orleans were also played, even though I did not get off the quarterdeck all evening to visit the other tables.

October 15th 5-tables again this week. A few people have mentioned to me that this is their one outing each week, so I hope we will be able to continue for a while. In our room there was Coloma, a Euro-style game based on the Californian gold-rush which centred around this boom-town. It is thematically quite strong, with a number of ways of accumulating points and the necessity to club together occasionally to see off the bandits (Game of Thrones motif). Our table started with Alien Frontiers with a very close final round where any of 3-players could land their last colony if the dice rolled well for them. We finished with Azul. In the other room, I noticed Glenmore, Castles of Burgundy and Root.

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3 Responses to Recent games

  1. Ian says:

    Will ad to main page later.

    So this week I played “The Great Wall” with Paul, Michael and Anthony.

    Unfortunately like a lot of games today the rulebook was pretty shocking so we played a lot of rules wrong. However, the game played very well.

    It is set on a certain Great Wall and could easily be after a certain film with the same theme. We all play leaders with special abilities and we need to send our advisors to areas on the board and thus take actions. These range from getting troops out to getting more resource ..etc.

    Everyone plays a card at the same time and then in turn order (which can vary) people chose in what order their played card will go. This is important as each card also gives a small bonus to other players. For example you may have a card that gets out 4 advisors that you can place however you also allow other people to get out 2. Then they are all placed out and any actions spaces that can be completed are done so.

    You need to get resources to build the wall together and you need to fight the enemy coming up the Left, Middle and Right sides.

    It is not ground breaking in terms of game play but it is fun and one I would play again.

    Other games people played last night were Lords of Waterdeep, Keyflower, Pre-History and Dual Gauge.

  2. Robin says:

    Another review of a less-well-known game from me this week. Steve brought in Sun, Sea and Sand, which is a worker-placement-ish game on the theme of setting up and running a holiday resort.

    As we were starting, Brian saw what we were playing and warned us: this one was a brain-melter. It seems odd for a game with a 2.6 complexity score on BGG, but I can definitely see what he meant. Despite the lighthearted theme, it took some heavy thinking to do well in this game (and to do badly, come to that :-) ).

    I can’t think of a game that has found such a humourous way to apply rules to its theme. The worker-placement element is when your workers act as travel reps, who you place on incoming boats to tempt tourists into your resort. Different types of tourists want different attractions, and will stay for longer where they find them: the sea tourists like watersports, the sports tourists like tennis courts, and the comfort tourists like bars and restaurants. The physique of the different tourist meeples corresponds to their choice of holiday attraction…

    This silliness offers a nice selection of different strategies, which were all competitive. Richard focussed his resort on the rotund comfort meeples, who all congregated in his bars and paid him lots of money. I focussed mine on the skinny sports and sea meeples, who were more stingy with their cash but still earned me plenty of VPs. And James went for the long-term investment option, not even opening his resort in the first round but cashing in big later on. We all finished within a couple of points of each other.

    I think the raters on BGG have missed something with this game. The mix of the light theme and the heavy strategy was great for me. In the months to come, as you’re looking out at the grey and the rain, I recommend this sunny game to lift the spirits!

  3. Michel says:

    Thanks for the write-up, Robin. Glad you enjoyed. Happy to bring it some other time, Ian. BTW, the game is from Nick’s collection.

    Even when it’s not your turn, it’s entertaining to watch what the others are negotiating and give ‘friendly’ advice on how they should dispute the local elections you’re not involved in. Like in politics, there’s all kinds of shenanigans, like slandering an opponent (kicking them off a ward) or locking up a ward to further influx, and the fortunes swing a lot as Robin mentioned. I was last the whole game and jumped to 2nd in the final election. I was lucky everyone was fighting each other and left 4 uncontested wards just to myself. Adele won by only slandering once in the whole game, whereas we did it the maximum 3 times. Go figure, a political game you win by being nice…

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